The Children's Museum of Fond du Lac (CMFDL) is dedicated to creating hands-on learning experiences through interactive exhibits and educational programs.
After six years of operations in the city's Windhover Center for the Arts, the museum relocated to Fond du Lac's Waterfront District in August 2013. The new location provided the museum with larger classrooms, expanded exhibition space and an outdoor area to engage its 24,000 annual visitors. The facility also needed washrooms fixtures that would fit the new location's look.
The museum enjoys a diverse range of visitors in terms of its guests' respective ages and physical abilities, and it was vital for the CMFDL's washroom fixtures to accommodate the needs of all visitors. Because a majority of the museum's guests are young children, maintaining washroom cleanliness is always a top priority — and often a challenge. In its prior location, the CMFDL was often inundated by paper towel waste and water buildup on washroom counters and floors.
The CMFDL's new washroom fixtures also needed to fit the museum's vision of environmental responsibility in terms of energy and water management. The CMFDL chose to install new Advocate AV-Series Lavatory Systems from Bradley in its "pirates" and "mermaids" washrooms. The Advocate is an all-in-one touchless sink that combines an ultra-low-flow faucet, soap dispenser, and high-efficiency hand dryer in a single unit.
The Advocate's all-in-one design enables users to complete the entire handwashing process — soap, rinse and dry — in one place. The unit ensures that water goes down the drain instead of spilling on floors, which keeps the washrooms cleaner and decreases the likelihood of slippery floors and potential injuries. The Advocate's basin is made of recycled solid surface material and the faucet reduces water use by 24 percent, according to the company. The Advocate is also ADA-compliant.
MS: Hi, I’m James Pease and this is Take 5, Maintenance Solutions Magazine’s podcasts on topics of interest to facility maintenance professionals.
Everyone knows that being proactive about facility maintenance can save a world of pain on the reactive side of the equation. This is especially true in regard to plumbing fixtures. No one wants to go to work on Monday morning and find that water has been running all weekend and the building is flooded. And no one likes finding out that they can’t wash their hands when needed.
Our guest today is Rebecca Geisler, product manager for Service Parts with Bradley Corporation, a leading manufacturer of innovative commercial plumbing fixtures and washroom accessories.
Thank you for being with us, Rebecca.
Why is preventative maintenance so critical for plumbing fixtures?
Geissler: One of the top complaints Facility Managers receive is about plumbing fixtures that don’t work. Sometimes those failures are just a minor inconvenience, but failure of a critical component like a large thermostatic mixing valve – could stop an entire area from operating. Top quality fixtures like those available from Bradley should always be used to avoid emergency maintenance, but even these products benefit from regularly scheduled preventative maintenance. Well maintained plumbing fixtures contribute to employee and customer satisfaction.
MS: Plumbing fixtures aren’t all used the same way or with the same frequency. How does that affect setting up an appropriate schedule for preventative maintenance?
Geissler: There’s no quick, easy answer to this question. The schedule should take into account how the product is used, and what the environment is like. For example, in a plant that runs 24/7, maintenance should be more frequent because the products are in constant use. But, fixtures that have infrequent use may also require more frequent maintenance. If a product isn’t used for a period of time, like in football stadiums and schools where there’s a seasonal shut-down, the product must be prepared for the down period and thoroughly inspected before the facility is re-opened.
MS: How does the risk of either a failure-caused shut-down or certain occupational hazards factor into a preventative maintenance plan?
If the failure of a particular fixture is likely to result in either a significant disruption of your business or in potential injury to an employee it is essential to actively maintain that product and keep the parts on hand that will keep the fixture up and running. Often a product like a drench shower or eyewash is infrequently used, tested or maintained. This just doesn’t make any sense because these products exist to protect employees and the worst time to find out a drench shower or eyewash is non-functional is when an employee needs one. Hopefully, drench showers and eyewashes aren’t frequently used in your facility. If water isn’t regularly run through these fixtures, o-rings and seals may dry out or other maintenance problems may go undiscovered putting all employees at a serious risk.
MS: How about the condition of the water itself? Could that affect fixtures and require more frequent maintenance?
Geissler: Water quality can significantly affect how a product performs and ultimately shorten the life of the fixture. For example, highly chlorinated water can degrade flexible parts like o-rings. Mineral deposits from the water build up in filters and screens requiring more frequent cleaning and replacement.
MS: So, as a general guideline, what should be included in a preventative maintenance plan?
Geissler: There are five things your plan should include.
First is a Visual inspection of the fixture. Look for any leaks, cracks, significant wear or vandalism.
Then activate all fixtures to make sure they are working properly.
Operate any product not regularly in use – for example drench showers and eyewashes. Plumbing systems are essentially lubricated with water and if they aren’t regularly used, o-rings, seals and other components will dry out and stop working. This is also important for fixtures in seasonal facilities operate them during extended downtimes and evaluate them before opening the building for the season.
Have a Schedule for replacement of parts that frequently wear out.
And finally, clean the locations where build-up is likely to occur – this is especially important with poor water quality. Faucets or valves often have a filter or screen that should be checked and cleaned. Soap systems should be emptied and cleaned regularly, and make sure shower valves aren’t clogged.
MS: You mentioned schools or sports facilities earlier that are often shut down for extended periods. Could you highlight the additional maintenance that might be required in seasonal facilities?
Geissler: Before the facility is shut down, the fixtures should be prepared. In a school where summer temperatures during the summer will be extreme without air conditioning, soap tanks should be emptied. If this isn’t done, the soap will dry out in the system to cement like consistency that can potentially destroy the entire soap system. The entire soap system should be rinsed out with water. If the seasonal shut down involves a building that won’t be heated through the winter, the plumbed fixtures should be drained and compressed air should be blown through the system. If this isn’t done, pipes can be destroyed and water damage to the facility can be significant.
MS: All demonstrating that preventative maintenance is less expensive than fixing a mess! Thanks for these important tips, Rebecca.
Our guest today has been Rebecca Geissler, Product Manager for Service Parts with Bradley Corp. Rebecca will be joining us again in an upcoming podcast on how a well-planned stock of replacement parts can provide quick resolution to potential failures and avoid extended downtime.
For more information, click on the Bradley logo or text link on this page.
Thanks for listening to Take 5.
MS: Hi, I’m James Pease and this is Take 5, Maintenance Solutions Magazine’s series of podcasts on topics of interest to facility maintenance professionals.
It’s usually cold and raining when your car breaks down, Friday night when a drain backs up and Thanksgiving morning when the oven gives up the ghost. When plumbing fixtures break down or malfunction in commercial, industrial or institutional facilities, though, inconvenience isn’t the only concern; safety and health issues are a bigger worry, not to mention the possibility of lost productivity or extended downtime.
Our guest today is Rebecca Geissler, product manager with Bradley Corporation, a leading manufacturer of innovative commercial plumbing fixtures and washroom accessories. Rebecca is a Product Manager for Service Parts at Bradley Corporation and is here to give us some tips on how awell-planned stock of replacement parts can provide quick resolution to potential failures.
Thank you for being with us again, Rebecca.
For a good preventive maintenance program, what replacement parts should be kept on hand to avoid emergency orders?
Geissler: That varies based on the types of fixtures and the number of fixtures you’re operating. A manufacturer that supports their products in the field usually offers repair kits for the most commonly replaced items. When disassembling and replacing one part, it makes sense to replace additional parts with a similar life expectancy or experiencing similar wear to avoid frequent or unplanned maintenance.
MS: What should to be stocked in a facility that has wash fountains or other hand washing fixtures?
Geissler: Key components to stock can vary based on the activation method of your product. For infrared models, it makes sense to stock the infrared eyes and windows; often the windows are a target for vandalism. For both Infrared and Bradley’s ndite (light powered) products, solenoids repair kits should be stocked. An air valve repair kit along with the actuator and push button should be stocked for models using an air valve. Specific to wash fountains only would be a foot valve repair kit, the combination stop/strainer check valve kit and the volume control valve, all of which should be stocked.
MS: Drench Showers and Eyewashes perform a critical emergency safety function. What parts are essential to have in-house to support them?
Geissler: Stock should include plastic bowls and handles which are most likely to be damaged, dust covers and for portable units – preservative refills. These components can be damaged by accident or vandalized but they are easy to replace if you have stock on hand. Thermostatic mixing values are often used to provide the required tepid water to drench showers and eyewashes, which can eliminate risks like hypothermia. For any critical Thermostatic mixing valves in your facility, a center section kit should be stocked, which can be swapped out to quickly resolve any significant valve failure.
MS: And what about point-of-use valves, or showers?
Geissler: You should have a back-up valve for any fixture utilizing a point-of-use valve. For Showers, o-ring kits should be stocked, and for those using a pressure-balancing valve a spare cartridge is also a good idea to have on hand.
MS: When I have a maintenance concern, how do I get the right parts and the right information?
Geissler: When contacting a manufacturer or sales representative regarding a fixture in your facility – gathering complete information will significantly speed up resolution. A few simple pieces of information will help the manufacturer identify your product and quickly troubleshoot and identify any parts needed. Information should include the model number and the approximate date of installation. Digital pictures are a great tool to share information on your fixture and the problem you are having.
Often a manufacturer’s web site is a great place to locate service parts. Bradley offers PartSource, which includes detailed breakdowns of service parts for the fixtures we sell. Also available are Parts & Service Guides and detailed installation instructions. Bradley also has an experienced team of Technical Service Managers to assist with troubleshooting and repairing your fixture with the goal of helping customers quickly 300find the right part and minimize downtime.
MS: Thanks for these important tips, Rebecca.
Our guest today has been Rebecca Geissler, product manager with Bradley Corporation.
For more information, click on the Bradley text link or more info button on this page.
Thanks for listening to Take 5.
Arnie Wilke, Senior Product Applications Manager with Bradley Corporation
Hi, I’m James Pease and this is Take 5, Maintenance Solutions magazine’s series of podcasts on topics of interest to facility maintenance professionals.
There are many things to consider when designing or specifying a commercial washroom: aesthetics and green issues may be similar from one commercial facility to another, but practical considerations such as application, traffic, ADA compliance, potential vandalism, maintenance and cleaning can be quite different depending on what kind of facility the washroom is in. The needs of a school are different from a hospital which are different from that of a manufacturing plant. One size does not fit all.
Our guest today is Arnie Wilke, Senior Product Applications Manager with Bradley Corporation, the leading manufacturer of innovative commercial plumbing fixtures and washroom accessories.